Gardens in all their forms are for many people an opportunity to connect with the environment, to commune with nature in an intimate and personal way that is only possible in the familiar territory of our own back yards. The way we relate to and use our gardens reflects how we as individuals regard the world.
Wild life gardening has been taken to mean many things. For some it simply means encouraging wild birds with feeders and nest boxes. For some authors wildlife gardening is a quest for the holy grail of biodiversity, a game of numbers, counting bugs and all that creeps crawls and slimes.
The Emorsgate approach to wild gardening starts, as does most gardening, with the aesthetic beauty of plants. Firstly an appreciation of the natural design and beauty of wild plants ‘as mother nature intended’ un-distorted or improved by man or science. Secondly, a use and appreciation of plants in natural planting schemes based on wild plant communities, using and building on the harmonious co-existence of plants in nature as a model and example. Put another way it is an opportunity to bring the natural plant groupings of the countryside such as primrose bluebell and red campion from a woodland glade into our garden. A key to this approach is allowing nature to be an equal partner in the design and management of our garden.
All gardens large or small, especially those which contain a variety of plant forms: lawn, herbs, grasses, shrubs , hedges and trees, make excellent habitats for wildlife both individually and networked with their neighbouring gardens parks and verges. Only plots set to tarmac concrete patio and decking managed with weedkillers fail. There are no real goodies and baddies in the plant world and both wild and cultivated forms have value and may be grown together in a garden. Growing wild plants however does bring an extra dimension to gardening : the understanding of, connection with, and aesthetic of nature. Aside from these esoteric matters there are some important practical and other side benefits to this approach. By working with natures designs, for example in creating a meadow, you are following a planting design that has endured centuries, with plants that work together.